Sunday 1 April 2012

Young At Heart - by The Bluebells

Young At Heart (1984)
The Bluebells

Following on from the previous post about general feelings of nostalgia in Stereophonics' Dakota, I thought I'd mention a song that does cause me to remember a specific moment in time whenever I hear it.

As a young child (i.e. about 8 years old), the majority of the music that I used to listen to was either what my sister was playing, or my mum. At some point during the eighties, Weetabix cereal gave away promotional cassette tapes called Top Trax. Each only had four songs on, and they were all relatively well-known 'hits' (or almost hits) by fairly-current popular bands. I think we collected about eight tapes, and so we'd be regularly swapping them in the cassette player in order to listen to some Tears for Fears, or Thomson Twins, or a bit of Bucks Fizz. The tape with Young At Heart on also included Candy Girl by New Edition, and Fantastic Day by Haircut 100... I forget what the fourth song was.

As far as I can remember, Young At Heart wasn't particularly the stand-out track for me: I don't recall listening to it more times than the others. I do know that I liked it though, particularly the violin interlude (which later became part of a court battle), and certain lines that I enjoyed shouting at the top of my lungs.

"They told us tales
They told us lies
Don't they know
They shouldn't have told us at all!

How come I love them now
How come I love them more
When all I wanted to do when I was old
Was to walk out the door!

Those Weetabix tapes are definitely responsible for forging a lot of my musical taste, and any long car journeys would have them playing constantly. I also used to play them on my cassette radio whilst sitting in my bedroom. This particular song provides me with the memory of a very specific moment in time whenever I hear it. It's not a huge event, not a life-changing moment, not seemingly significant in any real way at all I suppose.

I think I must have been about eight or nine at the time. I remember the tape playing away in my portable twin-cassette radio which was sitting on the blue carpet of my bedroom floor. Even though it was far too narrow to actually be comfortable, I was sitting on the window sill; liking the idea of sitting there and gazing out the window, and ignoring how difficult it was to actually balance on the strip of wood. My neighbour - she was a year older than me, and very much my 'crush' in those early years - sat at the other end. My memory isn't good enough to inform me what time of year it was, but I like to guess that it was the Summer holidays, because I know we both looked out the window at my sun-lit garden and the blue sky, and I'm sure we both tried to sing along to the song (even though I've only just learnt some of the lyrics via Google).

And that's pretty much it. I wasn't lying when I said it wasn't "a huge event"...

There is some significance in that moment, for me, as it does represent those wonderful care-free days of childhood when the Summer holidays seemed to last forever, when the notion of love was far more simple and naive, when so many things were not yet a problem. So, for a time-specific nostalgic trip, Young At Heart does a good job.

Incidentally, as a little final piece of trivia, it is only during the process of writing this post that I discovered Young At Heart was originally by Bananarama (although Robert Hodgens of The Bluebells is a writing credit, and was dating Bananarama's Siobhan Fahey at the time). Their version is quite different, and I have to admit I prefer The Bluebells' reworking.


"There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres" - Pythagoras


  1. Ha! I was looking this up and I had the exact tape, the 4th song was "I won't let the sun go down on me" by Nic Kershaw!

  2. Those tapes were amazing :)